Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasReuters

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Friday stripped Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas of the French capital's highest honor after he made remarks about the Holocaust that echoed antisemitic tropes, AFP reported.

Abbas could no longer hold the Grand Vermeil medal after he "justified the extermination of the Jews of Europe" in World War II, Hidalgo’s office told AFP.

"The comments you made are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah," Hidalgo said in a letter to Abbas sent on Thursday. "You can therefore no longer hold this distinction."

The text of the letter was published on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Yonathan Arfi, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), an umbrella organization representing French Jews.

In his speech, Abbas claimed that Adolf Hitler only killed Jews "because they dealt in usury and money" and also argued that Jews aren’t Semites.

Abbas’ speech has been widely condemned. On Thursday, US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt condemned Abbas’ remarks.

"I am appalled by President Abbas’ hateful, antisemitic remarks at a recent Fatah meeting. The speech maligned the Jewish people, distorted the Holocaust, and misrepresented the tragic exodus of Jews from Arab countries. I condemn these statements and urge an immediate apology," Lipstadt wrote on X.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also blasted Abbas’ speech, writing on X, "I strongly condemn Palestinian President Abbas's recent comments, which egregiously distort the horrors of the Holocaust and repeat false tropes about Jews."

"His remarks add fuel to the fire at a time when antisemitism and violence against the community are so alarmingly on the rise," he added.

Meanwhile, Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh defended Abbas, claiming the PA chairman was only quoting Jewish, American, and other historians and authors in his speech, though he did not say which historians Abbas allegedly based his claims on.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)